Saturday, December 15, 2007

Mulroney-Schreiber affair, Public Inquiry (part II)

Like Adscam, the Mulroney-Schreiber scandal would not have legs if it were driven solely by the opposition. Some are interested in clean government and some have less innocent motivations. Regardless of the spin put out by the Conservatives about Mulroney’s liberal media “tormenters”, the list of people interested in the story is not at all limited to those with sentimental attachments to the Liberals, Bloc or NDP.

There are old and strange stories about how Mulroney gathered delegates to ouster former Tory leader Joe Clark and even more about the following leadership convention. It’s the kind of boozy rumour that comes out after a few drinks and often sounds more like the onset of Korsakoff’s disease than the truth. Believe nothing you hear and only half of what you see. But the progressives of Joe Clark’s ilk have been largely frozen out of the current Bush-styled Conservative party, a fact that is not forgotten in the minds of some. And whatever your feelings about the (family values=white power?) Reform party, they were not great fans of Mulroney either and it’s hard not to believe Preston Manning was sincere about cleaning up the lobbying industry and Ottawa graft. Harper’s interests are another issue. Many believe that Harper is primarily interested in staying in power and so the odd on-again-off-again support over the last month for Brian Mulroney I suspect is a reflection of the inner dynamics within his own party more so than a genuine response to the ethical issues. I am not a conservative. I do not know and I do not want to know. The point I am trying to make is that there are people inside and outside the Conservative party who want to hear more about the Mulroney-Schreiber scandal and that interest will move a public inquiry forward.

As I wrote in the first of two posts, I had the good sense to blush during the last election campaign in response to Adscam. The Liberals were put in the penalty box for failing to pay attention to corruption. It’s a good metaphor and one that a lot of people including most Liberals accept. The Liberal government was being careless about minimizing corruption. Although at base, I am still more interested in politics because of issues like global warming and efficient health care delivery, I respect those who are sincerely fighting for clean government whether with their arguments or their votes. For them the Mulroney-Schrieber inquiry is not a vendetta. Why should I argue against them again?

To be honest, I was among those that were content when the story died many years ago because I was just so tired of Mulroney and I thought Liberals and Canada had more important issues to attend to at the time. Granted more incriminating evidence has since been brought to light, still this lazy attitude toward investigating corruption was wrong and is what ultimately led to Adscam. All partisan exaggerations aside, the real problem in Adscam was not that the Liberal party or its membership were corrupt, but rather that there was a pretend-its-not there toleration of illegal activity, a blindness for corruption.

If the lesson learned by lobbyists and public office holders from the Mulroney-Schreiber scandal is that dubious money transactions under the amount of $300,000 are o.k., then the cost of a public inquiry is minimal in comparison to the amount of corruption that we are otherwise inviting upon ourselves.

2 comments:

Ron said...

The difference between Adscam and Schreiber is that there is no evidence of any criminal activity around the Schreiber matter. The most that is alleged is that Mulroney may have been underhanded by filing his taxes late. If Canada Revenue does not have a problem with him then what is the beef. We may not like the way things were done in the 70's or 80's but handing over large amounts of cash during leadership races was legal and done by all sides. The reason this has hit the fan again is because the Liberals, NDP, and CBC need to tarnish the current Conservative government. They can't find or manufacture anything significant so they dig up a 20 year old story. All three convienently forget that during this entire time Harper and many of his supporters left the Mulroney party and created a new party precisely because they did not like the aroma of events surrounding him. Now, the Liberals and the press is trying hard to make it look like he was all part of it. It is because of unfounded smears like this that honest people shy away from politics.

Aaron said...

"The reason this has hit the fan again is because the Liberals, NDP, and CBC need to tarnish the current Conservative government."

Ron,

I do not buy the Conservative talking point that this is a "liberal" media attack. Is Philip Matthias a Liberal or even a sympathiser, is Andrew Coyne? Go ahead make a list of the reporters interested in this. There are alot who would rather not vote Liberal.
I suspect that when the whole story becomes known --and yes there seems to be alot the public does not know yet--, you will realize that "liberals" did not revive this story.

You are trying to shift the blame to someone else. Mulroney tarnished himself. It would be nice when he says he made a mistake that he and others who are backing him accept responsibility for that mistake. Or is what he really means by: "It was one of the biggest mistakes of my life" -- I, Brian Martin Mulroney, International Figure and father of four etc. etc. etc. did not make a mistake.

An inquiry to establish the facts would certainly clear up whether or not "smears" have been made. But the Harper/Mulroney Conervatives seem to want to shut that down. Why? If Mulroney did nothing wrong, if the current government is not involved, then what is there to hide? I am beginning to doubt the sincerity of the Harper Conservatives when they speak about accountability.

"It is because of unfounded smears like this that honest people shy away from politics."

Well I hope accountability investigations would scare away alot of dishonest people, but
I was unaware that there was a lack of candidates prepared to run for office. Do you have any proof of this? Or are you trying to shift attention away from the issue of Muroney again.